The pressures on businesess large and small are still being felt, particularly in the retail sector, so we would like to see some changes to business rates in recognition of this.
After 18 months of consultation and review of the antiquated business rates system, it will be important to see some progress on the subject at this Budget.
Of course, we were expecting the full recommendations in relation to business rates reform to be published this Autumn.
However, whilst we expect some movement in business rates, the full recommendations put forward in the Fundamental Review of Business Rates are unlikely to be forthcoming.
What we are expecting, is the potential announcement of a move from five-yearly revaluation, to revaluation every three years. This move would ensure that rateable values take into account changing markets, and that businesses are not paying business rates based on significantly outdated information.
We might also see the addition of an extra relief for the ailing retail sector, which continues to suffer from the effects of the pandemic. Indeed, the British Retail Consortium recently asked for a reduction (30%) in the business rates multiplier.
Whilst we don’t expect such a reduction to be announced, other concessions may for this sector may be forthcoming.
Focus on Sustainability
Meanwhile, with all eyes on the forthcoming international climate summit, COP26, and with an ever-increasing focus on sustainability, we could see a review of the legislation in relation to the assessment of Plant and Machinery.
Indeed, businesses will be hoping to see green energy plant become exempt from paying any business rates at all.
We could also see a replacement for the Green Homes Grant to make homes more eco-friendly, which will follow on from the recent announcement regarding grants of £5,000 to help homeowner replace gas boilers under the clean heats grant ahead of a proposed ban on gas boilers by 2035.
It is expected to be announced that almost £2 billion will be invested by the government into building new homes on derelict or unused land in England.
Up to 160,000 greener homes could be built on brownfield land spanning the size of 2,000 football pitches. The government has also pledged to invest £9m towards 100 urban “pocket parks” across the UK, as part of its efforts to meet the UK’s net zero target by 2050. However, concerns have been raised that not enough affordable homes are being built.
The chancellor is also expected to confirm £65 million to develop new software to help with the digitisation of the town planning system.
Looking past the Budget, and with pressure on inflation, all eyes will be on the Bank of England’s next decision on Interest Rates on 4 November. Some are speculating that we will begin to see a small but gradual increase in interest rates, to bring inflation back towards the long-term target of 2%.
What is also not yet clear, is the impact of the Chancellors ‘super deduction’ and how that is translating through into business investment.
As ever, we will monitor developments on the day and share more information about what is announced and how it might affect you – whether you are an occupier, investor, developer or landlord.